“Scan & Go” Testing at Walmart

Scan & Go Walmart

I am currently near Destin, Florida and had heard that the new “Scan & Go” service from Walmart was available at the local store. I’m not a huge Walmart shopper, but am a fan of trying new things. I am also a bit of a ‘customer experience’ geek… And really like services that can potentially make my life easier!

Walmart had an initial launch in a few select stores in Orlando, Dallas, and Northwest Arkansas. It expanded the service to an additional 100 stores, of which this new store in Destin is one.

I strolled into the Walmart store, unsure of where to go or what to do. The first thing I noticed was that the carts are all equipped with a bag carrier (for the plastic bags you will need when you’re packing your groceries/items), a cup holder, and a scanner holder.

I grabbed a cart and walked a little further into the store, where I saw a large stand holding the scanners and other information about the service.

I picked a scanner, put it in the scanner holder. And off I went! Ready to scan my way through Walmart.

The instructions were pretty clear. I grabbed some oranges and had a difficult time scanning the barcode because the sticker was wrinkled, but it gave me the option to type in the 4 digit code, which I did, along with the quantity and voila! It worked. After the orange incident, I had no further issues with the scanner.

I continued shopping, packing my own bags as I went and then went to the front of the store to check out. A nice lady near the self-checkout area came and pointed me in the right direction to a checkout, where I scanned a barcode on the screen, then paid for my purchases.

That was it! I gave the scanner back and left the store.

So am I sold on it?

I’m not sure.

  • It does take a little more effort as you’re shopping to scan and then pack everything.
  • A couple of times I forgot to scan items (don’t worry – I remembered and went back in my bags to scan the missed items).
  • I’m not sure that it saved me anytime… Maybe if the store was packed and the lines for checkout were large, then I could see the time savings.
  • For the extra work I had to do versus a Walmart employee, it would be nice to receive an incentive!
  • I was a lot more aware of how much everything cost, and how much I was spending due to the running total showing on the scanner as I shopped. This could be a good thing for budget shoppers.

Apparently, this service is also available at all Sam’s Clubs nationwide. And there is an app that you can use to scan instead of the scanner. The benefit is that your credit card information is stored on the app, so you can check out without needing to open your wallet/purse.

One final note

I left the store feeling kind of duped. I felt that Walmart was promoting this service to consumers as if it were a great benefit to them, but in reality, it is helping Walmart save on staffing. There is a blog post on the Walmart website that lists 5 Reasons to Check Out Scan & Go.

I read the list and I have to say, it really seems to be trying too hard to find 5 reasons!

1. Save Time, Skip the Line: Ok, yep. I’d agree this can be helpful if there are long check out lines.

2. Track Spending: Yes, I agree this was a benefit when I could see how much the items were and the running total of my shop.

3. Cart Gaming: Ummmm. What? Oh, your kids can have fun scanning the items. Okay… ???

4. Forgotten Hero: If you’ve forgotten something in the store, you can run back in and quickly scan and go. Yep. I do that about once a year.

5. Silent Shopper: Walmart is referring to the experience being in your hands. Which it is. So if you don’t want to speak to anyone, you don’t need to.

I think they’re really stretching on these last 3 reasons to fill a list. Clearly, they’d like this to be successful – as they’ve invested so much money in developing the product, and they would save a ton of money by having the customers work instead of employees. If anything, providing an incentive would be awesome. A fractional discount or earn points for each shop and scan you do?

What do you think? Would you use the service?


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